Evan Mitchell is one of Canada’s most innovative and imaginative conductors, an artist equally at home conducting symphonic masterworks, opera, contemporary music, and films live in concert. He has been consistently acclaimed for curating thoughtful, incisive, and affecting musical performances.
Evan’s style of leadership is based on a combination of personal sincerity and the dogged pursuit of collegial music-making—an approach, he says, that he learned from his parents. In performance, Evan prizes commitment, risk-taking, drive, and an unwavering effort to produce the widest possible spectrum of sound colours. He believes in extreme softness as well as extreme loudness, and his over-arching goal is to provoke a sustained emotional response in listeners.
Evan began his professional musical life at age 16 with drumset lessons. This experience fostered a deep-rooted sense of rhythm and pulse that he focuses on during his rehearsal process. While he loves all the instruments of the orchestra, he particularly adores the marimba, an instrument whose expressive potential is nearly limitless.
He has also brought the magic of orchestral music to over 500,000 students and children, many of whom had never experienced a live performance first hand. His programs for young people have been recognized for their appeal and educational mandate.
Evan is deeply committed to supporting Canadian artists and composers. He has premiered over 30 new Canadian works during his career and firmly believes the importance of supporting Canadian composers to write significant, substantial works cannot be overstated.
His most memorable concert experience was a profound performance of the Eroica in honour of the late Elizabeth Krehm of Toronto, who died at age 22. The performance was part of a memorial concert series that has so far raised over $100,000 for St. Michael’s Hospital intensive care unit. He also truly cherishes conducting concerts for young audiences.
Evan has treasured memories of past partnerships with the Barenaked Ladies, who showcase incredible artistry and ability, and with Omara Portuondo, who at 88 years old remains a true master of audience engagement. He is deeply grateful to conductor Bramwell Tovey for launching his conducting career.